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Volume 6 Relation of U.B/EUB Virginia Conferences to Shenandoah University Dec. 26, 2013


Forrest Racy, 1902-1988

Dr. Forrest S. Racey was born June 9, 1902, in Purgitsville, W.Va., to
the Rev. and Mrs. Lee Allen Racey. His father was a minister in the U.B.
Church. Forrest received his education at Shenandoah Collegiate Institute
(forerunner of Shenandoah College and Conservatory of Music), Bridgewater
College, West Virginia University, and the University of Virginia. It was
while he was employed in the extension department of West Virginia
University that he began the prescribed reading program of the Virginia
conference that would lead to his ordination. [The picture at the right is from
the 1953-54 College Catalog.]

Before entering the U.S. Army as chaplain in 1942, he served the
following charges in the Virginia Conference: Riverton, West Virginia
(1930-1936); Pleasant Valley (1936-1940); and Augusta (1936-1942). After
his service with the 841st Combat Engineers (1942-1946), he began his association with Shenandoah
College and Conservatory of Music as an instructor in history. In 1956, his teaching responsibilities
were extended to include economics and he began to take on administrative responsibilities: public
relations, business manager, and, in his own words, “Jobs that defied labels and definition.”
Simultaneously with the latter part of this period, he also served the Massanutten Charge (1952-1956).

Forrest became president of Shenandoah in 1956 and presided over the development of the new
Winchester campus and the first 9 years of Shenandoah’s life there. When Forrest retired in 1969, he
took his appointment as president emeritus and his continued re-election to the college Board of
Trustees seriously and never missed a meeting except for an extenuating circumstance. In addition, he
involved himself in fund-raising activities for Shenandoah until shortly before his death. He accepted
appointments from the district superintendent (most notably the Winchester Circuit, which he served
from 1969-1979).

Alumni remember Forrest Racey as a sometimes unorthodox professor who knew his subject and
loved teaching. Parishioners remember him as a caring, dedicated pastor who preached down-to-earth
sermons and prayed exuberant prayers. Leaders of the Winchester area and the Virginia conference
remember him as a person who was never too busy to lend a helping hand and become wholeheartedly
involved in community affairs. Many remember him for other reasons: his wealth of stories, his
“healthy irreverence” in the presence of professional stuffiness, and his humility when others reached
out to honor him.

In 1930 Forrest Racey married Leota Sullivan, who shared his interest in Shenandoah College
and the parish ministry. She preceded him in death in 1981. In 1983, he married a second time. Hazel
Gilmore, a native of Anderson, Ind., was, like her husband, an
educator and devoted Christian. For 5 years, Forrest and Hazel
charmed the Shenandoah campus and Winchester’s First United
Methodist Church with their wit and goodwill. The Lord in his
wisdom did not let one live long without the other. He called Forrest
on June 8, 1988, and Hazel on June 16th. At their request, nearly
identical services were held for them at Shenandoah’s Goodson
Chapel. The bulk of the Racey estate has been left to Shenandoah College and Conservatory, where
basically through scholarship programs, the Raceys will be reaching out to help others far into the
future. This was their final expression of the Lord’s will for their lives.

—Bruce C. Souders

Dedication iii
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